Wednesday November 25th

TFS is destroying your development capacity

Author explains some of the perceived shortcomings of TFS and what solutions exist that can eventually replace the functionality of TFS. Basic premise is that TFS is a tool that promises to do everything, but in actuality does it all poorly (and doesn't talk to anything else).


I honestly didn't realize that TFS was this bad, particularly with regards to locking all files as read only if the developer loses network connectivity. Even VSS got that right, and I would never go back to using VSS.

TFS works well with a process template: MSF for Agile, MSF for CMMI. MSF defines iterative phases like Envision, Plan, Implement, Build, Stabilize, Deploy. Also, MSF defines peer roles like Program manager, Product manager, Architect, Developer, Tester, Release Manager. TFS is a good implementation of MSF.

With TFS, the product manager can create work items. The architect or developer can create tasks. A project manager can sync these tasks into a Microsoft project file and prepare a schedule. This schedule can be uploaded back into the team system. The tester can create test cases against the requirements. The test results can be recorded in TFS either manually or using Test manager. Loads of reports can be created from TFS like progress of the project, and quality of the product.

As a version control system, it has a few shortcomings. But, there are work-arounds to them. There are various tools that are built around TFS. One of them is TFS Shell extensions. This allows TFS to work more like SVN. If you do not like TFS integration from Visual Studio, you could use TFS Shell extensions.

I do agree that a lot of training is involved in getting to understand TFS. Also, most organizations do not like TFS because of Vendor lock-in or they already have existing systems to do requirements management, test management etc.

If the organization is working on Microsoft .Net technologies alone, TFS is the way to go.

But what do you do when there is no access to the TFS server, if the server goes down and has to be restored, no one in the company can get any work done correct?

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